verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to roll over or break at the crest, as a wave.

Origin of comb

before 900; Middle English; Old English comb, camb; cognate with Old High German kamb (German Kamm), Old Norse kambr, Greek gómphos “pin, peg,” gomphíos “molar tooth”; see cam1
Related formscomb·less, adjectivecomb·less·ness, nounun·combed, adjectivewell-combed, adjective



plural noun

hairs removed with a comb or a brush.

Origin of combings

First recorded in 1565–75; comb1 + -ing1 + -s3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for combing

Contemporary Examples of combing

Historical Examples of combing

British Dictionary definitions for combing


pl n

the loose hair, wool, etc, removed by combing, esp that of animals
the unwanted loose short fibres removed in combing cotton, etc



a toothed device of metal, plastic, wood, etc, used for disentangling or arranging hair
a tool or machine that separates, cleans, and straightens wool, cotton, etc
Australian and NZ the fixed cutter on a sheep-shearing machine
anything resembling a toothed comb in form or function
the fleshy deeply serrated outgrowth on the top of the heads of certain birds, esp the domestic fowl
anything resembling the comb of a bird
a currycomb
a honeycomb
the row of fused cilia in a ctenophore
go over with a fine-tooth comb, go over with a fine-toothed comb, go through with a fine-tooth comb or go through with a fine-toothed comb to examine very thoroughly


(tr) to use a comb on
(when tr, often foll by through) to search or inspect with great carethe police combed the woods
See also comb out

Word Origin for comb

Old English camb; related to Old Norse kambr, Old High German camb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for combing



Old English camb "comb, crest, honeycomb" (later Anglian comb), from West Germanic *kambaz (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German camb, German Kamm, Middle Dutch cam, Dutch kam, Old Norse kambr), literally "toothed object," from PIE *gombhos, from root *gembh- "to bite, tooth" (cf. Greek gomphos "a molar tooth," Sanskrit gambha-s "tooth").



late 14c. (implied in past participle kombid), verb derived from comb (n.); replacing the former verb, Old English cemban, which however survives in unkempt. Related: Combed; combing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with combing


see fine-tooth comb.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.